Autoimmune endocrine diseases can be thought of as a case of mistaken identity. The immune system mistakenly attacks one’s own cells, as if they were foreign, which typically results in endocrine gland hypofunction and inadequate hormone production. Type 1 diabetes mellitus and autoimmune thyroid disorders (Hashimoto and Graves diseases) are the most common autoimmune endocrine disorders, while conditions such as Addison disease are encountered less frequently. Autoantibody production can precede clinical presentation, and their measurement may aid verification of an autoimmune process and guide appropriate treatment modalities.
In this review, we discuss type 1 diabetes mellitus, autoimmune thyroid disorders, and Addison disease, emphasizing their associated autoantibodies and methods for clinical detection. We will also discuss efforts to standardize measurement of autoantibodies.
Autoimmune endocrine disease progression may take months to years and detection of associated autoantibodies may precede clinical onset of disease. Although detection of autoantibodies is not necessary for diagnosis, they may be useful to verify an autoimmune process.

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